It is certainly a time of fear.
In some ways fear can be a good thing. Fear of drowning makes us cautious when swimming in the ocean. Fear of getting burned prevents us from touching fire. Fear of the Coronavirus keeps us mindful about washing our hands, and taking measures to prevent getting or spreading this illness.
However, fear can weaken, confuse, and trick us, causing rational minds to behave irrationally. I admittedly tend to “OCD” about many things, and as soon as I heard that the world had started clearing the store shelves I started to panic and take inventory of what I already possessed in my closets and shelves. I knew initially I would be okay, after all I’m Italian, reared by a mother who was born during the Great Depression. I always have plenty of toilet paper, paper towels, and disinfecting wipes…I was raised that way.
But still, I panicked and the compulsive, obsessive shopper in me headed straight to Target.
I was too late, the shelves were bare and when I could not locate any Purell (the one item I did not own) I raced toward the medicine aisle and picked up cough medicine, Advil, and a gigantic bottle of Tylenol just in case. Since I was already at Target, I bought snacks, water, chocolates and wine. I picked up new socks, underwear, and t-shirts for my kids who would be coming home from college early, as well as board games, flashlights and batteries (don’t ask - I just felt compelled).
By the time I left the store, I had spent over $500….all to prepare for my fears.
Once home, I frantically (and unsuccessfully) searched online for Purell and began mentally beating myself up. How could I have not thought to buy Purell weeks ago??? What would I do? I started to panic as if Purell was the COVID-19 anecdote. This led to more concerns, specifically whether the four cans of Lysol I already owned would run out. I looked at my stocked shelf of toilet paper and began to question whether I really did have enough now that all the kids were returning. I could feel the fear bubbling inside me…..what if I’m not prepared enough?
It didn’t help that the Facebook groups I incessantly perused told stories of empty super markets and price gouging. I felt doomed. Should I venture back out into the germ ridden world and buy more food? More water bottles? Should I wake up at the crack of dawn to travel from store to store in search of Purell or more disinfectant?
My husband, who is always my voice of reason, said “Honey stop. let’s make the most of this day. We have plenty.” I paused, took a deep breath and pondered the possibility that "I have enough".
Right now at this present moment I have all that I need and that is good enough.
I knew he was right. Instead of letting this fear overrun my senses, I needed to look at the situation differently. The sun was shining and it was warm outside. I might not be able to go to a crowded mall, or a movie theatre, or a sporting event, but I could sit on my porch and read one of the books or magazines I’ve been meaning to get to. I could spend time working on my writing or talking on the phone with friends and relatives I haven’t spoken to in a while . And although not under circumstances one would wish for, I will soon have all my kids under my roof where we will gather for meals, watch movies and play board games. Our family will be together and what more could a mother need?
So instead of Lysol, Purell, and Charmin, I’m going to stock up on lemons so I can make lemonade!
I wish you all good health and calmness in these weeks ahead. Let’s find positive ways to use our time at home and take that Lysol to spray fear away!